Bali, Indonesia — On June 12, 2007, LibForAll Foundation—together with the Wahid Institute and the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance—hosted an historic religious summit in Indonesia, which has not only the world’s largest Muslim population, but also a venerable tradition of religious pluralism and tolerance that is under constant attack by religious extremists.
The summit occurred on the Indonesian island of Bali, whose people and economy have been devastated by repeated terrorist bombings. The day opened with LibForAll co-founder and senior advisor Kyai Haji Abdurrahman Wahid issuing a firm condemnation of Holocaust denial on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Co-authored by former Chief Rabbi of Israel and child Holocaust survivor Israel Meir Lau, the article called upon the world’s religious leaders to “not only refute the claims of terrorists and their ideological enablers, but also defend the rights of others to worship differently,” and “face up frankly to the evils of Holocaust denial.”
Massive media coverage of the event—by AP, Reuters, AFP and over 2,000 print and broadcast outlets—ensured that news of President Wahid’s and other participants’ courageous stand was widely disseminated throughout the world. In the words of the German newspaper Die Welt, “Indonesia is making an effort to uphold its tolerant and secular image. The world’s most populous Muslim nation has, for an entire day, become a showplace for a hitherto unique religious conference: the gathering on the holiday island of Bali concerned itself entirely with religious tolerance and recognizing Nazi persecution of Jews as an historical reality. Indonesia thereby consciously seeks to distance itself from fundamentalist and radical spirits.”
As evidence of the summit’s lasting global impact, Arabian Business magazine’s year-end issue listed the June 12th conference as one of the “top stories” of 2007, while al-Jazeera and other Middle East media have begun to routinely follow LibForAll activities. In May of 2008, the Simon Wiesenthal Center awarded its Medal of Valor to President Wahid “for his leadership of the LibForAll Foundation and his efforts to combat Holocaust denial in the Muslim world.” ~ Reuters/Los Angeles Times